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Marie Barton (1848)

par Elizabeth Gaskell

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

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2,652665,433 (3.68)1 / 263
The first novel by English writer Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton was published in 1848. It tells of the plight of the lower class in Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s. Contrasting the gap between rich and poor, the first half of the novel tells of the humble lives of the Barton and Wilson families, the extreme poverty of the Davenports and the luxurious life of the Carsons. Symbolically, John Barton receives five shillings for selling most of his worldly possessions; Henry Carson has this as loose change in his pocket. The second half of the novel comes to grips with a plot to murder.… (plus d'informations)
  1. 10
    Emma par Jane Austen (kara.shamy)
    kara.shamy: In some ways the heroines in these two novels are alike, but they are very different in other respects, and more strikingly, their respective journeys to the altar/married life go in diametrically opposite ways, in a sense! Both are true classics in my estimation; reading these two novels exposes the reader to two of the greatest English-language novelists of all time in the height of their respective powers. While all readers and critics do not and will not share this superlative view, few would dispute these are two early female masters of the form and are well worth a read on that humbler basis ;) Enjoy!… (plus d'informations)
  2. 10
    Daniel Deronda. par George Eliot (kara.shamy)
  3. 10
    Qu'elle était verte ma vallée par Richard Llewellyn (charlie68)
    charlie68: Both novels portray clashes between management and workers and there sometimes tragic consequences.
  4. 10
    Temps difficiles par Charles Dickens (shemthepenman)
  5. 00
    A Christmas Carol And Other Christmas Writings par Charles Dickens (charlie68)
    charlie68: The character's of John Barton and Ebenezer Scrooge compliment each other.
  6. 00
    Jeu de société par David Lodge (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Shirley , par Charlotte Brontë (MissBrangwen)
  8. 00
    Nord et Sud par Elizabeth Gaskell (Cecrow)
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Mary Barton combines two of the Victorian readers' favourite themes: social commentary and melodrama.

Gaskell starts by introducing the reader to the Bartons, a working class family in economic times good enough for them to be enjoying a holiday outing with friends, and then an evening back at their house. She then jumps right into her story, for later that evening, John Barton's wife and unborn child died in childbirth. John and his thirteen year old daughter Mary were left on their own. John became a Trades' Union chair and a Chartist, while continuing to work.

Three years passed, and it was time for Mary to find work. Factory work was deemed unsuitable. Mary's Aunt Esther had gone that route, bought fancy clothes, and run off with an officer, never to be seen since. John Barton wasn't having that happen to his Mary. Going into domestic service was an option Mary rejected, because of the loss of freedom it entailed. Finally, she apprenticed to a respectable dressmaker and milliner. This decision process allows Gaskell to portray the lives young working class women could expect. At Miss Simmonds's place
... where Mary was to work for two years without any renumeration, on consideration of being taught the business; and where afterwards she was to dine and have tea, with a small quarterly salary... a very small one, divisible into a minute weekly pittance. In summer she was to be there by six, bringing her day's meals during the first two years; in winter she was not to come till after breakfast. Her time for returning home at night must always depend on the quantity of work Miss Simmonds had to do.

It was 1839 in Manchester, and things were about to change drastically. One evening, one of the largest mills in the city caught fire. The Carsons' mill was destroyed and all hands were thrown out of work. The well insured owners thought this an excellent time to replace their aging machinery and build anew. The existing slack market meant full warehouses, so the owners would be able to enjoy some leisure time while the new mill was under construction.

The weekly drain of wages given for labour, useless in the present state of the market, was stopped. Gaskell tells of a winter of cold, hunger, and disease in the homes of these workers. Poverty and death forced many into more squalid housing, creating a seemingly endless downward spiral. Meanwhile, other mills were also laying off workers in the slow market. John Barton went to London with a group of fellow Chartists to present a petition to Parliament in support of the movement. Their petition was rejected. Barton returned to Manchester a changed man.

This is where the novel shifts focus somewhat, as Gaskell brings in Mary's story. Mary had a suitor, eminently acceptable to all involved. Mary, however, had her sights set on young Ben Carson, the mill owner's only son. Carson had been flirting with Mary, little realizing that she took him seriously, and actually thought she could rise to be his wife.

A murder and trial alter the whole pace and tone of the novel here. Gaskell's social commentary is still there, in her presentation of a trial for a capital offence with only circumstantial evidence. The tension created for Mary between the identity of the accused and her knowledge of the true murderer's identity carries this second half. It's a melodramatic plot line, but by Victorian standards Gaskell keeps it from getting out of hand, as it echoed some real events.

Elizabeth Gaskell lived in Manchester. Frederich Engels also lived in Manchester in the era of this novel, and it was that city's condition he described in The Condition of the Working Class in England. Although there is no evidence Gaskell had read this work, as a minister's wife, she knew her city and its problems well. The supporting characters are well drawn, and showed the reading classes that working class people had interests too, and were not merely cogs in the machine.

Mary Barton was Gaskell's first novel, published anonymously. Her detailed portrayal of everyday life led reviewers to deduce her gender, but they attributed her identity to the wrong person, so Barton had to reveal authorship. Initial criticism focussed on Gaskell's deliberate use of Lancashire dialect, prompting her husband to append two lectures on it to later editions. There was also criticism from some middle class readers, suggesting Gaskell had been too hard on the owners, whom they felt acted like benevolent patriarchs. Overall though, it received much praise for realism, and launched Gaskell on her career as a novel writer.
1 voter SassyLassy | Feb 5, 2024 |
Death and poverty and socialism, oh my!

I think Elizabeth Gaskell just made it onto my favorite authors list. This is another amazing novel where she seamlessly weaves a romantic subplot among the more serious issues of the day: workers rights, strikes, and union busting. ( )
  LynnMPK | Jul 1, 2023 |
Por sus obligaciones como mujer de un pastor unitario, Elizabeth Gaskell hubo de conocer de primera mano las condiciones de vida de los obreros de Manchester y las consecuencias de la revolución Industrial. En un ambiente de tensión social, agravado por la pobreza y el desempleo, se inscribe la peripecia de una muchacha que coquetea con el apuesto hijo del patrono y desprecia al pretendiente que daría su vida por ella.
  Natt90 | Sep 27, 2022 |
It is difficult to express why this Victorian novel (that no doubt contains all the cliche faults one would attribute to lesser Victorian efforts) should be so effective and enduring. Gaskell treats her characters with understanding and respect and, while they could easily sink into caricature, they do not.

The story has a long, overwrought narrative; Mary is unlikable and bounces between a person of extraordinary strength and one who faints and swoons in weakness; Jem is a bit too perfect; and Gaskell interrupts the tale of obvious moral consequence to preach to us its moral lessons. What makes it have the ring of truth is the knowing that the squalor, starvation and loss of life are a daily part of the this world and are not being exaggerated in the least.

I appreciated that Gaskell resisted the urge to make the wealthy factory owners less human than they were. Their lack of understanding or care for the lower classes was portrayed as something they failed to want to see...and how true is that even today. Don't people generally take just that attitude toward the homeless? If I don't look at them I will not have to contemplate their circumstances or consider that there but for the grace of God go I.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book, but I did think it was worth reading. Many of its lessons, while rooted in a harder time and in problems which have been addressed and greatly solved by this age, are ones every man can learn to his benefit even today. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
I learned that Elizabeth Gaskell wrote this after the death of her child and as a means of dealing with her grief. All I can say is that is shows in her writing. I had previously read and enjoyed North and South, written later, and Mary Barton has many of the same themes of class and poverty. But the rawness of the emotion, particularly in the first half of the book, I found quite difficult to deal with. It is a bleak, but human portrayal of life in Manchester in the middle of the 19th century. There are multiple references to the effects of the Industrial Revolution; handlooms weavers disappearing and being replaced by power loom weavers; a factory fire not being regretted by the owner because it destroyed the ageing equipment that could now be replaced from the insurance money. Gaskell lived in Manchester and knew mill owners and the conditions of the poor, which gives her descriptions, though hard to imagine, credibility and poignancy. A compelling read. ( )
  peterjt | Jul 21, 2022 |
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Nom de l'auteurRôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Gaskell, Elizabethauteur principaltoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Alexandrova,Z.E.Commentaryauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Barnes, E.C.Artiste de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Benitez, PaulaDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Brightfield, MyronIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Brightfield, Myron F.Introductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Bysty,D.S.Concepteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Carabine, KeithSeries editorauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Daly, MacdonaldDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Day, FedoraTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Dryden, JohnTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Easson, AngusDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Foster, JenniferDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Foster, ShirleyDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Gaskell, WilliamContributeurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Gill, StephenIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Gill, Stephen CharlesContributeurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Higgins, ClaireNarrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Katarsky,I.M.Avant-proposauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Lane, MargaretIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Minogue, SallyIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Munro, RonaAdapterauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Ollerenshaw, MaggieNarrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Pendle, AlexyIllustrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Pendle, AlexyIllustrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
PixabayPhotographeauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Seccombe, ThomasIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Sorbier, Françoise duTraductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Stevenson, JulietNarrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Strimban, JackConcepteur de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Strimban, RobertConcepteur de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Temprano García, MiguelTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Uglow, JennyIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Ward, A. W.auteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Wright, EdgarDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Zazo, Anna Luisaauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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"'How knowest thou,' may the distressed Novel-wright exclaim, 'that I, here where I sit, am the Foolishest of existing mortals; that this my Long-ear of a fictitious Biography shall not find one and the other, into whose still longer ears it may be the means, under Providence, of instilling somewhat?' We answer, 'None knows, none can certainly know: therefore, write on, worthy Brother, even as thou canst, even as it is given thee.'"

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There are some fields near Manchester, well known to the inhabitants as 'Green Heys Fields,' through which runs a public footpath to a little village about two miles distant.
Mary Barton owes its inception to very personal events, hinted at in the first sentence of the Preface ('circumstances that need not be more fully alluded to'). (Introduction)
Three years ago I became anxious (from circumstances that need not be more fully alluded to) to employ myself in writing a work of fiction. (Preface)
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Oh Mary! many a hasty word comes sorely back on the heart, when one thinks one shall never see the person whom one has grieved again!
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The first novel by English writer Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton was published in 1848. It tells of the plight of the lower class in Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s. Contrasting the gap between rich and poor, the first half of the novel tells of the humble lives of the Barton and Wilson families, the extreme poverty of the Davenports and the luxurious life of the Carsons. Symbolically, John Barton receives five shillings for selling most of his worldly possessions; Henry Carson has this as loose change in his pocket. The second half of the novel comes to grips with a plot to murder.

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Penguin Australia

3 éditions de ce livre ont été publiées par Penguin Australia.

Éditions: 014043464X, 0141039388, 0141199725

 

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